September 18, 2008
Seeking to reassure countries grown fearful of Russia, Western defense ministers will consider the creation of a rapid-response force that could be sent into nations feeling threatened by possible aggression, a senior U.S. Defense official said Thursday.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is scheduled to deliver his own major address on Russia today, sounded a more moderate line to reporters in London. “We need to proceed with caution,” he said, “because there are a range of views on how to respond from some of our friends in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states to some of the countries of Western Europe.”
Gates said he was trying to find a “middle ground” in their views. Although he didn’t mention the new NATO force in his meeting with reporters, it could serve as such a compromise solution.